Foster Loses Bid To Seal Records
Sep. 02, 2000
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Ezola Foster, the vice presidential candidate on the Reform Party ticket, lost her bid to get a judge to seal the workers' compensation records that detail a mental health condition she claimed to have.
Judge Semial R. Treadwell ruled Friday that the public's right to know about Foster's claim for disability payments outweighed her right to privacy. Treadwell agreed, however, to give Foster's attorneys time to appeal his decision before making the records public.
Foster is the running mate of conservative commentator Pat Buchanan, whose name is being printed on California ballots despite an attempt in court by John Hagelin to appear as the party's presidential candidate. Hagelin was nominated the party's candidate in a splinter convention last month.
Buchanan has been waging a battle with Hagelin for $12.6 million in federal campaign financing earmarked for the party's nominee. Buchanan's choice of Foster, an outspoken black conservative, was seen by some as an attempt to buffer charges that Buchanan has a record of racist statements.
Foster has refused to disclose the mental health condition she cited when filing a claim for disability payments in 1996, after refusing to return to her job as a typing teacher at Bell High School. She collected the payments, but told the Los Angeles Times she never suffered from a mental disorder.
The Times requested to see her records, prompting her to file a motion to seal her workers' compensation file. Her attorney, Tanya Garza-Sutton, argued that Foster was entitled to an amount of privacy that protected highly sensitive information such as her family history, mental health and treatments.
Foster did not return a phone call to her home Saturday from The Associated Press.